Letter: Railway revivals

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Roger Williams (letter, 3 July) recommends that the United Kingdom follow the example of Singapore in reducing growth in car registrations. However, there are differences between their public transport systems ours which would need to be overcome before the British public would begin to accept restrictions on car usage.

Singapore has a true integrated transport system. Buses link into the Mass Rapid Transit railway system to permit almost everywhere in the territory to be linked efficiently at almost all times of the day, seven days of the week.

Public transport in Singapore is comparatively cheap and a single ticketing structure covers all modes of transport and all operators. Subsidy is regarded as a dangerous word in many circles but it is virtually impossible to convince someone to stop using their car when the cost of using it is often so much less than the public transport alternative.

Finally, Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world, with none of the personal dangers (perceived or actual) which discourage many people from using public transport in the UK. Steven Norris was rightly criticised for referring to public transport users as "dreadful people" but there is a significant minority of the population to whom that description does apply and whose behaviour is considered by the authorities, by their inaction, to be tolerable. In Singapore such behaviour is not tolerated.


Senior Lecturer in Transport

Liverpool John Moores University